Auto Racing: Fortin takes bite out of Brode’s points lead

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School junior Kyle Ellwood set a qualifying record and then led all 20 laps to win the Legend Race Car feature.


John Fortin of Holtsville held off a hard-charging Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., to score his 27th career victory in a 35-lap NASCAR Modified contest on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway.

As part of the NASCAR Clean Air Tree Planting Program, Riverhead promoters Barbara and Jim Cromarty donated 100 trees to the Town of Riverhead, with the town supervisor, Sean Walter, on hand to accept the gift.

As Fortin, a former three-time NASCAR Modified champion, exited his car, he was greeted by Walter along with the Cromartys. “I love this place,” Fortin said. “It’s right in my backyard, and I hope it’s here forever.”

Walter responded: “This track has a long history in the Town of Riverhead and I’m happy to announce it has many more good years of entertainment like tonight to give us.”

Referring to aggressive restarts late in the race by Christopher, Fortin said: “He never once tried the outside. I don’t race that way, but maybe one day it will be me running second to him and we’ll see how that goes.”

With the victory, Fortin trimmed Howie Brode’s point lead from 42 points to 30.

For the third week in a row, Christopher had to be content with second place. Shawn Solomito of Islip, steering his brother Timmy’s Chevy, came in third. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was fourth and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue rounded out the top five.

In other races:

For the 105th time in his illustrious career, Roger Maynor of Bay Shore headed home a winner following a 15-lap Figure Eight main event. Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach was second, with Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford third.

Two good friends off the race track found themselves the main contestants in the 30-lap Charger feature. Jeremy McDermott of East Stroudsburg, Penn., topped Eric Zeh of Selden for the win. McDermott posted his fourth career win and in the process took sole possession of the division lead. Zeh was the runner-up, with the early-race leader, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore, following him at the finish.

Taking full advantage of a rare front-row starting berth, Scott Maliszewski led wire to wire to win the 20-lap Blunderbust feature for his 16th career victory. Ed Mistretta of New Hyde Park had the drive of the night as he raced from 14th to second place. Ray Shannon of Centereach was third.

Life is good for Riverhead High School junior Kyle Ellwood. He set a track record in qualifying and then led all 20 laps to win the Legend Race Car feature event. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville came in second, and Kyle Soper of Manorville placed third.

Brian Fass of Holbrook scored his first career Demolition Derby win when he topped the Eight-Cylinder event.

ANOTHER GRAND FINISH FOR CHARRIER James Charrier of Shirley scored his third Grand Enduro victory of the year on Sunday at Riverhead Raceway in a 50-lap Grand Enduro. Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point notched his first Four/Six-Cylinder Truck Enduro triumph of the year in another 50-lap contest.

Donald Lawrence of Southampton ended a four-year dry spell when he returned to victory lane in the first Eight-Cylinder Enduro, which went a distance of 75 laps.

In the second Eight-Cylinder Enduro, Jim Laird Jr. of Islip Terrace took the lead at the start of the race and never looked back to post his first career win.

Steve Trimboli of Freeport dominated the action in the Four/Six-Cylinder Car Enduro to score his first win of 2012 in a 50-lap contest.